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No, I am not familiar with the early days of the Greek scene … yes, I am a bit ignorant in this respect. So, the comparisons some might draw from this release to the early days of the Grecian black metal cannot be found in this discussion of Varathron’s The Lament of Gods. Accordingly, a different point of view is presented here.
Black metal would be the term used for the band as a descriptive element, but some might be astounded about how this is interpreted on this ep. Neo-classical characteristics combined with black metal might give an impression on what to expect and also in respect of the overall share in the art; I would also cite Oxiplegatz’ third output as a reference. Surprisingly small is the impact of the guitars and they find it quite difficult to break through the dense layers of the keyboards, especially as these tend to have some catchy motives at times -- The World Through Ancient Eyes. So, there is not much of aggressiveness in the concept and everything passes by like water of a river on a sunny day in spring. You can easily sit on the shore and let the melodies surround your soul, there would be nothing in them to disturb the peace of this setting.
Yes, the guitars are generally in the background, while the keyboards are often in the front, but as the production is not optimal, they tend to switch places at times. Nevertheless, when it comes to their riffs and ideas, then there is not much that would be worth mentioned or emphasizing, there are some neat ideas now and then, but as the keyboards as well as the vocals like to drown them a good deal, not much can be enjoyed of them. At times they are nothing more than a thin sound in the back… which is not the best thing in terms of a metal release.
Aside from the messed up production, also the drums with their sterile sound and play are not something I can thoroughly enjoy; especially the snare is a bit of annoying. Finally, a less of the vocals would have also be a neat thing … the balance with the share of the instruments is a bit out of proportion here.
Nuns Have No Fun (Mercyful Fate cover)
Compared with the original this version lacks a good amount of facets. The guitars as well the vocals are not able to stand up to the quality of the original, but the ideas towards the end are able to compensate the listener for this in some respect. Varathron’s version opens with Gregorian chants.
Final bits and bytes
In the 11th year of the band’s existence, this release saw the light of day and even though one has to acknowledge the quality of the musicianship, the song-writing and the production is by no means convincing. The keyboards drown everything and they leave the listener at the mercy of the motives performed by this instrument; an aspect which becomes confusing in The World Through Ancient Eyes due to the dominance as well as catchiness of the motives of the keys. It is really hard to focus on a facet as the production did not really gave the instruments a clear role and accordingly do the instruments switch in their level of impact. So, while there are neat melodies at times, some might find it difficult to actually get the idea behind this release and appreciate the performance. In some respect it remains unclear what the band wanted to express and what their style is all about. Some sort of a red line is missing… you can enjoy it, but do not expect an outstanding piece of art here.
Recommended tracks: Beyond the Grave
Note: written on the tape edition.